Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane built an empire within TV animation, and after cutting his live-action teeth on features like Ted, he finally went three-dimensional on the small screen with the sci-fi dramedy The Orville. While not the biggest hit with critics, The Orville immediately found a loyal fandom that sang its praises through the weird and wacky first season. Season 2 is on the way, and almost unbelievably (but still believably), there's a realistic chance that The Orville could give audiences a Family Guy crossover episode. Seriously.
Granted, there are no guarantees that The Orville and Family Guy will share the same screen space, but the concept is already far beyond just a hypothetical goof. Executive producer Rich Appel and other Family Guy writers apparently scripted at least one scene where Stewie and Brian show up on the bridge of the Orville ship at the heart of the show. It's unclear if the fan favorite characters would appear as animated characters, or if the joke would involve a live-action iteration of the duo. It probably wouldn't be that complicated to get a white dog and a mostly bald baby in suspenders on the set, and that might be the more interesting and less ridiculous way to do it.
It probably doesn't do any good to start hypothesizing about Family Guy characters joining the Orville-verse just yet. The final say comes down to sci-fi fanatic Seth MacFarlane himself, and he's not necessarily the first person in line to draw a through-line between his two biggest TV shows. Here's what he told the crowd at the Television Critics Association winter press tour (via SlashFilm):
We'll have to see. For me, I live with everything I ever do being compared to Family Guy so my first instinct is to let that be its own thing and keep it separate. It's to be continued.
With neither a positive or a negative answer coming from Seth MacFarlane, we're obviously going to spend some time in the coming months wondering if this bonkers crossover will ever come to light. Since neither Family Guy or The Orville utilizes serialized storytelling, a crossover definitely wouldn't disrupt any major storylines, and it could very easily set up a running gag through the rest of The Orville's seasons. Just...no Conway Twitty, guys. We can deal with a live-action chicken fight or a showtune musical bit (with Scott Grimes involved), but please, no Conway Twitty.
It was also revealed during the panel that The Orville is going to boost its episode count from Season 1's twelve installments, with MacFarlane wanting to do at least 14 in Season 2. So even if The Orville didn't rely on standalone stories, the upped episode total would at least provide some more TV real estate to make a Family Guy crossover happen without it being shoehorned in.
Having already crossed over with the king of animated TV, The Simpsons, Family Guy is usually more content with poking fun at other properties rather than teaming up with them. But because Seth MacFarlane is behind both shows, that makes things a little easier. We've seen lots of mini-crossover moments between Family Guy and American Dad, so that sets up a possibly promising precedent.
Until we find out more, don't forget that Family Guy will be back on Fox for its midseason premiere on Sunday, January 7, at 8:00 p.m. ET. And to see when everything else will show up on TV soon, head to our midseason premiere schedule.